Fragments from SpaceX Starship are sold for 7,500 thousand dollars

If you look at the Starship spacecraft, it is noticeable that it has two colors: silver and black. That’s because the dark side is covered with charcoal-black hexagonal ceramic heat-shielding tiles. These tiles play an important role in SpaceX’s technology, helping the Starship spacecraft withstand high temperatures upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Now they have become not only an object of scientific interest, but also an object of aspiration for collectors and space fans.

Found a hexagonal ceramic heat shield tile. Photo: Reddit

These separated heat shield tiles can now be found on eBay, where they are sold for thousands of dollars. Their search and sale have become a new source of profit in the secondary market of unique souvenirs. They were once part of one of the largest spacecraft created by mankind.

Fragments of the SpaceX Starship spacecraft collected by Ron Parker. Photo:

SpaceX has already made three attempts to launch three Starship prototypes into orbit. The first two attempts in April and November last year ended in explosions that led to the scattering of about 18,000 ceramic tiles on the territory of South Texas.

Starship launch. Source: SpaceX

The third and final orbital launch attempt last week was successful: the prototype flew past the African continent and landed in the Indian Ocean. However, there is a possibility that the heat shields may have come off during re-entry into the atmosphere.

Several enthusiasts have already discovered valuable artifacts on the beaches of the southern United States and Mexico. In particular, one of the famous “relic hunters” Ron Parker, who has already found 120 tiles near the SpaceX test center in Boca Chica. Other searchers are still finding separated fragments from Starship since the first failed launch attempt last year.

Ron Parker holds a found SpaceX Starship heat shield tile. Photo:
Ron Parker holds a SpaceX Starship heat shield tile that he found in Mexico. Parker traveled to Mexican beaches several times to collect hexagonal tiles that were left over from Starship explosions during test flights. Photo:
Fragments of the SpaceX Starship spacecraft collected by Ron Parker. Photo:

Some owners decided to sell their finds by placing ads on eBay and other online sites at prices ranging from $30 to over $2,000. Prices for tiles reach even 7,500 if they have a well-preserved condition.

Lots with SpaceX Starship fragments on eBay
One of the tiles that is sold on eBay, with a nice design. Photo: eBay

It is worth noting that during the first two Starship flights, engineers noted the peeling of tiles during the ascent. But during the last launch, the heat shield tiles performed their task perfectly, and effectively protected the spacecraft from the scorching plasma field during entry into the atmosphere.

Earlier, we reported on how Elon Musk announced the second-generation Starship.

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